Love and Honor

By: M. S. Parker

Chapter 1

Christmas Day, 1775, was one of the best days of my life.

December twenty-sixth, however, things took a definite downturn.

Now, it was the twenty-seventh, and the shit hadn't just hit the fan, it was stuck to every damn blade.

I frowned at the phrase and pinched the bridge of my nose. My morning sickness wasn't sticking to the time of day it was supposed to, and not being able to know when I could hold down food was messing with my appetite, which was giving me a headache.

And none of this was helping me figure out what the hell I was supposed to do about my husband or our baby.

Yesterday morning, Gracen and I had been cuddling in bed, relishing the little bit of peace we'd finally been granted. We made love before falling asleep in each other's arms, and we'd woken up that way as well. I'd seen my love reflected back at me in his emerald eyes, felt it in his touch. We were happy.

And we were going to become parents. The thought scared me, of course. I'd occasionally thought of having children somewhere down the line, but there was no way I could've foreseen having a baby as the Revolutionary War was beginning.

Then again, whenever I thought of having a child before a car accident threw me more than two hundred years into the past, I'd only thought of kids with Bruce. At the time, he was the only man I'd ever been with, and since I was engaged to him, he was the only logical person for me to imagine starting a family with...and I hadn't ready to do it.

Bruce had been immature, needy. And I'd had my career to think about. So I hadn't let myself think about it too much, hadn't tried to talk myself into why it would work. And I sure as hell hadn't asked Bruce if he wanted kids.

Gracen, on the other hand, was a different story. Though the circumstances that brought us together was extraordinary, to say the least, I could imagine the two of us being parents. Could picture us working side-by-side to raise wonderful children.

When I told Gracen the news, he'd been so happy. It'd seemed like things were finally starting to fall into place, that all of the pain we'd gone through had been worth it to get to this point, to be spending Christmas thinking about being a family.

Except that little bubble had burst yesterday almost as soon as we'd woken. The memory of it twisted my stomach into knots.

“Good morning.” My brain was still foggy with sleep as I greeted my husband.

“Hello, beautiful.”

A raven-black wave fell across Gracen's forehead, and I reached out to brush it back, my fingertips tingling as they made contact with his skin.

“Let’s go get breakfast. It’ll be nice and cozy. We could have cocoa!” I eagerly thought of the warm drink and the ideal start to a day of lazily snuggling in front of the fireplace. Then I frowned. “Do you have cocoa now?”

Gracen chuckled lightly. “You are certainly full of energy this morning.”

“It's a beautiful day,” I said. Okay, so technically it was cold and wet, but I was here with the man I loved, the father of my child. That made it more than a good day in my book. “I don't want to miss a thing.”

“Or you could stay safe and warm in bed while I get us both breakfast.”

“Far be it from me to say no to being waited on hand and foot this morning.” I grinned at him. “I warn you, though, I could get used to it.”

He climbed out of bed, and I took the opportunity to ogle his muscular legs, to picture the rest of his firm body that his nightshirt tried to hide. I wondered if I could manage to convince him to sleep in the nude when it got warmer. The idea of being able to stare at that amazing body whenever I wanted was definitely incentive to keep the two of us locked in our bedroom. Stare. Touch. Lick...

I gave myself a mental shake. I'd heard that pregnancy made some women swear off sex, but made others want it even more. I had a feeling I was going to be the latter.

“I'm sure Alize and Celina will appreciate a slow morning too,” I said. “The three of us can wait a bit to start on taking down the decorations.”

He spun around, pants half on, his expression incredulous. “You will do no such thing! Alize and Celina are able to oversee the servants. You cannot overexert yourself.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You don't actually expect me to stay in bed for nine months doing nothing, right?”